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Maya Digital to raise $10-million PE fund

Mulls creating an animation film fund, set up gaming studio in Hyderabad

K Rajani Kanth  |  Hyderabad 

Maya Digital Studios (MDS), a Mumbai-based digital technology company with focus on computer animation and special effects both for television and the big screen, is in the process of raising a $10-million (or approximately Rs 63 crore) private equity fund to fuel its growth plans.

“Talks with private equity players are already in place. We expect to seal the deal with one of them within the next quarter,” Ketan Mehta, chairman of MDS, told Business Standard.

Mehta, who directed films like ‘Mangal Pandey: The Rising’ and ‘Holi’ starring Aamir Khan and ‘Maya Memsaab’ with Shahrukh Khan, had floated MDS in 1996. The company sold its education division MAAC (Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics) to Aptech for Rs 100 crore in 2010 and showed an exit to initial investors like Intel Corporation and Enam. In February 2011, Bollywood film maker Subhash Ghai-promoted Mukta Arts picked up a strategic minority stake in MDS.

The company, which currently has a studio each in Mumbai and Goa, proposes to utilise the funds to increase its capacity, expand into new areas like gaming and create an animation film fund that would aim at international co-production with Indian partners, besides augmenting its intellectual property (IP) base.

“We intend to have at least five studios in India in the first financial year after receiving the PE fund. Even as we are gearing up to open an animation studio in Bangalore by the end of this calendar, setting up a gaming studio in Hyderabad is also a possibility given the distinct advantages it offers including a large pool of talent,” Mehta said, adding that the company would double its resources to 600 people immediately with further scope to expand to 800 in a year from now.

Stating that international TV channels, who now have a stronghold in the Indian market, had started realising the need for domestic content to reach out to their audience, he said the demand for local content was growing rapidly vis-a-vis international programming.

MDS had so far delivered three seasons (each comprising 26, 22-minute episodes) of Motu-Patlu, a 3D animation series based on LotPot Comics, to Nickelodeon channel.

“With Motu-Paltu series becoming a visible franchise, I think this will grow into a 3D-animated theatrical feature, which will happen next year. The investments for such movies could vary from Rs 30 crore to Rs 40 crore, depending on the duration and the script,” Mehta said.

MDS has signed on with Disney channel for ‘Vir’, a contemporary fiction. Season-I of this 26, 22-minute-episode series would be delivered by this September, while negotiations with two more international channels are in the final stages, he said, adding that the company was expecting to double its revenues, from the present Rs 20 crore, each year for the next three years.

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First Published: Sun, August 25 2013. 21:29 IST